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Miskitos Cays

Department: RAAN

Municipality: Puerto Cabezas (view on map)

Type: Cays and islands



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The vast sea, the presence of 76 mangrove formations and islands that provide shelter to a variety of fauna and flora, and small fishing communities with houses built in the middle of the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, brew the perfect combination to showcase Miskito Cays to enjoy an adventurous and cultural visits.

The Miskito Cays were declared Marine Biological Reserve and coastline of 40 kilometers in 1991. They are located in the northeast zone of Nicaragua, in the Puerto Cabezas municipality, North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN), at an approximate distance of 560 kilometers from the city of Managua.

To be able to reach the Cays, there is no public transportation or specific prices. Visitors should contact the delegation of the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism in the RAAN, whose officials have the information and direct contact with fishermen that offer shuttle service to the area. The standard price per rental per day is US$200 for a group of up to 8 people which includes engine use and panguero (driver). Gasoline must be paid for separately and the guide as well.

The journey to this area far away from the mainland takes time and effort, so it is not a journey that many can make. The trip to the Keys may vary due to climate change, behavior of waves or of the departing area. Normally, the arrival time is between 3 and 4 hours departing from Guililandin Beach, located just minutes from downtown Bilwi. It is necessary to point out that this is not a luxury trip but rather a delight for those thrill seekers.

If the tourist is lucky, during the journey, he may see turtles swimming in the turquoise water. You can also experience the thrill of the journey with the crash of the waves without land around it. It is an unforgettable experience that becomes rewarding from the moment when you see mangrove formations and houses only supported by trunks that enter the water.

After a long tour, you finally reach the community located in front of the Miskito Cays. This is where visitors can witness the fishermen lifestyle in small wooden buildings with zinc roof sheeting, high above water, and the sea as their backyard. It is common to see people fishing with harpoons or preparing their sea fishing equipment. Next to the Miskito Cays, you can find the Mara Cays and the Wiptics Cays, where houses can be seen but in smaller amounts. The distance time between each of these cays is of almost 1 hour.

For six months the people from different coastal communities come and live in the Cays for the fishing season. The remaining six months, fishing is illegal; the time that is prohibited from hunting or fishing, so fishermen return to their place of origin and the houses are completely empty.

If the tourist is willing to explore this remote area of Nicaragua it is recommended that the visit be of at least 3 days. There are local tour operators offering packages to the Cays, including accommodation, food and transportation. The stay is in a small rustic hostel in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. The conditions are not fancy. In the area there is no electricity or running water. However, through the tour operator you can get basic commodities.

Along with the services mentioned, various activities are also offered for the full enjoyment of the visitor such as: Walks in the Cays where the customer has the opportunity to see the mangrove forest, the different types of floras and internal lagoons; Bird watching in the Cays, diving, fishing with harpoons or canoes (traditional boats), snorkeling and swimming in the calm waters near the foundations of the houses.

Getting There

Currently there is no public transport to travel to the Miskito Cays. It is advisable to contact the delegation in the RAAN INTUR to rent a boat and hire a guide, or contact a local tour operator offering all-inclusive packages.

The boat rental price is around US$200 for a group of up to 8 people which includes engine use and panguero (driver).